MTSU Poll: Obama approval ratings are up one month before election

President Barack Obama Nashville
President Barack Obama speaks at Taylor Stratton Elementary School in Madison, Tenn. on Wednesday, July 1, 2015. (MTSU Sidelines / Gregory French)

Photo by Gregory French/ Sidelines Archives

Tennessee voters are beginning to warm up to President Barack Obama while they are still displeased with the U.S. Congress, as seen in the latest MTSU Poll.

MTSU professors Ken Blake and Jason Reineke conducted the poll from Sept. 28 to Oct. 2 in order to gauge how registered voters in Tennessee feel about current leaders. The poll interviewed Tennessee residents by telephone and surveyed 600 registered voters statewide.

In an MTSU poll done in January, 31 percent of voters approved of President Obama, while 61 percent of voters disapproved. The most recent poll found that 42 percent of voters now approve of President Obama, while 53 percent disapprove. According to the Poll wesbite, this is the highest approval rating President Obama has had in Tennessee since 2010.

Director of the poll, Dr. Ken Blake, said on the Poll’s website, “While President Obama fared a little better with Tennessee voters in this MTSU Poll than he has in the recent past, it remains clear that in their final assessment, more Tennesseans disapprove of the job he has done as president than approve.”

While it seems that President Obama is not very popular among Tennesseans, he will leave office with a higher approval rating than Bush did in 2008. According to an MTSU Poll conducted in 2008, 32 percent of voters approved of the job that Bush had done by the time he left office.

Tennessee voters included the MTSU poll were not in favor, however, of the United States Congress. Only 17 percent of voters said they approved of Congress’ performance, with 75 percent disapproving. Supporters of Congress in Tennessee has grown from 12 percent approval ratings in the January MTSU poll.

Poll respondents did favor both Tennessee Republican Senators Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander, despite their differing views on the current presidential race. Senator Corker and Senator Alexander both have a 45 percent approval rate, which has remained the same since the poll done in January. Only 52 percent of voters approved of the job being done by the Tennessee General Assembly.

Governor Bill Haslam had the highest approval rating of 58 percent, which is also unchanged from the poll done in January.

“Governor Haslam’s popularity endures the many tests presented by national, state, and local developments in a way that is uncommon in American politics,” said Associate Director of the poll Dr. Jason Reineke on the poll website.

The poll’s website pointed out that it was conducted before the governor’s recent call for Donald Trump to “step aside” and let Mike Pence, vice presidential nominee, take charge for the Republican party in this election. Following the release of the Trump video from 2005, Governor Haslam joined several other GOP leaders nationwide to withdraw their support for Trump.

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To contact News Editor Amanda Freuler, email

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